Dr Saul Issroff <saul@...>
I had personally not been aware of Klaipeda being used a a departure
Port. But Ann Rabinowitz is visiting me and has been telling me of work
she is doing with Danish records, and it seems likely that some of the
ships going >from Libau (undoubtedly the main point of embarkation) also
stopped at Klaipeda. This may have been for a short period of time only,
and was a Russian based fleet.
I have just looked at Lloyd P. Gartner 'The Jewish Immigrant in England
1870-1914' George Allen and Unwin 1960 and at a Ph. D. Thesis by Riva
Krut, SOAS 1985 ( unpublished) on ThBuilding a Home and a Community: The
Jewish community in Johannesburg 1886-1914. Both deal extensively with
Eastern European Migration. I cannot find a specific reference to
Krut's thesis states that despite extensive searches by several peoplein
different archives no trace has been found of shipping records relating
to ports of departure in Lithuania.
I personally have looked at The British Consular records for Riga (
there does not seem to have been a consul in Libau) and found nothing of
relevance. I have also enquired at the national Maritime Museum archives
in Greenwich and found nothing.
Aubrey Newman, writing on The Poor Jew's Temporary Shelter in patterns
of Migration 1850-1914 ( Proceedings of a Conference 1993 only notes
emigration through Libau. Quoting >from a report on Kovno and Vilna
prepared for the Jewish Colonial Association in September 1906 henotes
that 'The number of emigrants embarking at Libau grows each year, and in
this regard the current year exceeds all precedents. At least two boats
a week depart >from Libau, each of these boats conveying 300-350 migrants
at the least.'
Libau had the advantage of being an all weather port. Definitely Riga
was iced over for part of the year, and presumably Klaipeda also freezes
over. My impression (and I may be wrong) is that Klaipeda probably does
not have deep water facilities. Look it up on the web.
Even today Klaipeda is a small town and is unlikely to have much
shipping traffic other than local barge and ferry traffic. It is
possible to take a boat >from Kovno to Klaipeda on a daily basis.